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Gunman robs doctors mid-surgery at Venezuelan hospital

Sunday March 11, 2012 10:58:08 AM, EFE

Caracas: A man robbed a surgeon and his staff at gunpoint during a procedure being performed in the operating theatre of a hospital in the central Venezuelan city of Maracay, making off with watches, cell phones and money, an official said.

The robber, pretending to be a patient, broke into the operating theatre Thursday at Red Cross headquarters in Aragua, the head of the institution in that state, Juan Mario Gualano, told EFE.

"He (the robber) suddenly took out a gun, burst into the operating room and demanded the submission of the medical staff doing surgery on a patient," Gualano said, describing the incident as "a really crazy thing".

The assailant grabbed cell phones, watches and cash from the operating theatre staff, who never interrupted the surgery.

"The patient is in stable condition, but imagine the crisis it put our medical personnel in, having to continue operating while being assaulted," the official said.

Gualano added that, according to patients' accounts, the individual talked on the phone with another person just before pulling out his gun, with which he also threatened patients in the ward and their relatives in the waiting room.

He said the assailant got away on a motorcycle and regretted that this was the second such incident here, after the one last year when his own son was hit with four bullets during an assault.

"Crime is out of control," Gualano said.







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